Manchester City were on Friday night banned from the Champions League for the next two seasons for ‘serious breaches’ of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations.
The Champions League ban has been rumored to be happing for months, but the announcement still sent shockwaves through football and may now see questions raised over their domestic success.
The reigning English champions were found to have circumvented FFP rules between 2012 and 2016 and have been fined €30 million.
City’s problems are not just with the UEFA. Serious questions will asked by the Premier League, with a points deduction plus removal of City’s titles in 2012 and 2014 all possible outcomes.
City say they will appeal against the decision at the earliest opportunity via the Court of Arbitration for Sport. They accused UEFA of ‘initiating, prosecuting and judging’ the case and say they are not surprised at the outcome.
UEFA launched a probe after documents published in German media suggested the club had falsely inflated sponsorship deals with firms linked to their Abu Dhabi ownership.
A UEFA statement said:
‘The Adjudicatory Chamber has imposed disciplinary measures on Manchester City Football Club directing that it shall be excluded from participation in UEFA club competitions in the next two seasons (ie. the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons) and pay a fine of €30million.’
City reacted furiously to the development and say they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
A searing statement released by the club said:
‘Manchester City is disappointed but not surprised by today’s announcement by the UEFA Adjudicatory Chamber.
‘The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position.
‘In December 2018, the UEFA Chief Investigator publicly previewed the outcome and sanction he intended to be delivered to Manchester City, before any investigation had even begun.
‘The subsequent flawed and consistently leaked UEFA process he oversaw has meant that there was little doubt in the result that he would deliver.
‘The club has formally complained to the UEFA Disciplinary body, a complaint which was validated by a CAS ruling.
‘Simply put, this is a case initiated by UEFA, prosecuted by UEFA and judged by UEFA.
‘With this prejudicial process now over, the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible and will therefore, in the first instance, commence proceedings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport at the earliest opportunity.’
LaLiga president Javier Tebas was quick to air his thoughts on social media insisting UEFA’s decision is ‘better late than never’.
He wrote: ‘UEFA is finally taking decisive action. Enforcing financial fair play rules and punishing financial doping is essential for the future of football.
‘We’ve been asking for severe action against Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for years. Better late than never.’